The Canadian Coast Guard (CCG) was created in 1962 to address the need to provide services to mariners in Canadian waters. This included three main responsibilities:
Following several shipwrecks, the first lifeboat and light stations were established on Canada’s east coast during the 1700s. There were no formal safety measures prior to this time.
Patrol vessels first appeared along the eastern seaboard and in the Great Lakes Region during the 1800s, in response to an urgent need for protection and regulation of fishing and shipping vessels.
At Confederation, in 1867, the federal government acquired elements of marine infrastructure, including:
The Department of Marine and Fisheries, established in 1868, was given responsibility for this marine infrastructure.
In 1930, the Department of Marine and Fisheries became two separate departments, and in 1936 the responsibility for marine transportation shifted to the Department of Transport (DOT).
The DOT maintained a fleet of 241 vessels, which would become the basis of the Coast Guard. This fleet had several uses that now fall under the CCG mandate, including maintaining navigation aids and icebreaking.
Between 1941 and 1961, demand for a national coast guard came from many organizations and communities, and the Canadian Coast Guard was officially created on January 26, 1962.
Five Canadian Coast Guard regions were created soon after the CCG was established. These are still in effect and include:
The Canadian Coast Guard College was established in 1965. Located in Sydney, Nova Scotia, the college trains young men and women for service in the CCG.
The federal government has restructured the Canadian Coast Guard twice:
Today, the Canadian Coast Guard continues to play a vital role in marine safety, environmental protection and promoting maritime commerce. In addition, the CCG also plays an important support role in maritime security and Arctic sovereignty.